A Power of Attorney is a document which allows one person to delegate some of their authority to make decisions to a third party – typically husband/ wife or children.
There are several types of Power of Attorney.
General Power of Attorney.
These are commonly used to give a third party authority to deal with specific financial matters in the short term. A typical example would be allowing a conveyancer to sign a property purchase agreement if the purchaser might be away on holiday (or in the jungle or on the operating table) when the day came.
2. Living Will or Advance Directive.
These can give limited authority over decision making in medical matters. Normally considered a short-term measure.
3. Lasting Power of Attorney Health and Welfare.
A much more comprehensive version of the Living Will/ Advance Medical Directive with much wider powers. As well as health matters, they cover where you live, who you see and help to secure best decisions where Social Workers are involved, who otherwise would have no one to take instructions from and would either make their own judgements or go to the Court of Protection. Optionally, you can allow your attorneys to make decisions about life-sustaining treatment. This type of LPA can only be used when you are unable to make decisions within a reasonable time bearing in mind the urgency of the situation.
4. Lasting Power of Attorney Property and Financial Affairs.
The twin of the LPA Health and Welfare, but appoints people of your choice (attorneys) to make financial decisions when you are unable to do so or (if you chose) when you may not wish too – perhaps because you are too old, don’ have the interest or have lost the ability to deal with financial matters temporarily or permanently. They do need to be carefully set up.